Save money. Save time. Save stress. And, of course, save the environment.
Carpooling is a convenient way to simplify your school commute. But driving kids — and coordinating with parents — can be a challenge. Follow these five steps to start your safe and successful kids’ carpool.
1. Find Your Carpool Group
A safe and successful carpool starts with the right families. Consider these criteria when creating your carpool group.
- Age: Younger children may require car or booster seats and help getting into the vehicle. Older kids are generally more hands-off.
- Distance: Stick with families close to you so you’re not adding significant time to your commute.
- Space: If you have four extra seats in your car, do you need to fill them all? Be realistic — sometimes a bigger carpool is more trouble than it’s worth.
- Schedule: Remember, the goal is convenience. If your schedules clash, keep looking.
2. Ask the Hard Questions
You’re trusting your child to another person, so do your homework. Maybe your carpool buddy is a trusted friend. If not, ask these questions to ensure your family will be safe and sound.
- Do you have a valid driver’s license?
- Are you driving an insured vehicle with liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage?
- Have you been in any car accidents?
3. Have Contact Information Ready
Collect the following items from all parents and guardians (not just your fellow drivers!).
- Cell and home phone numbers
- Email address
- Any important medical information (allergies, medication, conditions, etc.)
- Additional emergency contact
Save this information on your phone and stash a paper copy in your glove compartment. You never know when you’ll forget your phone at home or run out of juice.
4. Set Carpool Rules for the Kids …
Your car, your rules. Keep the peace and safe driving conditions with ground rules about these key car safety items.
- Seat belts: They should always be on properly. Always.
- Exiting the vehicle: Kids should get out of your car on the curb-side of the street.
- Food: Determine if kids are allowed to eat and drink in the car. Note any allergies. Will you provide snacks?
- Music: Decide who gets to choose the music and the volume.
- Noise: Kids are kids, but too much noise can become a safety issue.
- Toys and tech: Can the group handle it if one child has an iPad or blankie and another doesn’t?
5. … And for the Adults
Sure, you can handle a little noise, but what about a habitually late driver? Establish your expectations as a group from the start — and what you plan to do if someone violates them.
- Share a set route: Let other parents know your usual itinerary, including the order you plan to pick up or drop off.
- Be on time: This goes for drivers and passengers. A few minutes every now and then is probably OK, but don’t be the one who holds everyone up.
- Don’t drive distracted: No phone. No food. No fiddling with the radio or reaching in the backseat. Keep your eyes on the road at all times.
- Avoid unexpected passengers or drivers: Don’t volunteer your carpool group to pick up another child. And, unless you have everyone’s OK, definitely don’t sub in a friend or family member to cover your shift.
Keep Your Carpool Protected
The right auto coverage equals the right protection for you and all of your passengers. Contact a Farm Bureau Agent today to ensure you’re covered.